Unraveling 18 Sizzlin’ Southern Sayings That’ll Leave You Puzzled

By Krystal Brown

Southern dialects often feature distinctive phrases that can leave others puzzled. Let’s explore some of these intriguing expressions.

Precious or Not Precious

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“Aren’t You Precious” is a phrase that you may think is an outright compliment, but it is a dig at people who think they are all that. Southerners tend to use this phrase when people don’t know what they are talking about or they are showing their naivety. 

Rising Creeks 

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“If The Creek Don’t Rise” is another common phrase used by Southerners looking to see if the creek has risen for something to go smoothly. Translate means if everything goes to plan, they will be able to do something. For example, they can hold an outdoor party if the weather is on their side. 

Large Egos

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When a Southerner says you are “Too Big For Your Britches,” they believe you have a big ego, and their sense of importance does not enamor them. You may have heard a similar version that says, “too big for your boots.”

Hit The Rug!

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“Cuttin’ A Rug” is a phrase you will hear when Southerners head to the dance floor to bust some moves. This is a fun word that will excite you by what you will witness on the “rug.” 

Gone Fishing

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“No Bigger Than A Minnow In A Fishing Pond” is a Southern phrase that will have people scratching their heads. It simply means someone is trying to put you at ease if you worry too much about something. 

In A Minute

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When a Southerner tells you they are “Fixin’ To” something, they are saying they are about to do something as soon as possible. There is no guarantee it will be immediately, but they do have good intentions to do it that day. 

Angry Head

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If you have made a Southerner utter the words “Madder Than A Wet Hen,” you may want to run for the hills as you will have upset them. Rather than being slightly angry when they do this, they are fit to burst. 

Do You Think So?

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When a Southerner says “Reckon,” they are implying that they think something is about to happen or are asking you if you think it will happen. 

Horse Play

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“Hold Your Horses” is a phrase you may have heard before, but Southerners more commonly use it. It simply means that you should hold on and be patient and not run off like a wild horse.  

Forever Waiting

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When Southerners wait for “Till The Cows Come Home,” they will likely be waiting for a long time. Cows can be unpredictable and may not come, and some Southerners have given up waiting on some things. 

A Waste of Time

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When someone says something is “Piddle,” they don’t think it is necessary or worth attention. If somebody says this a lot, they aren’t bothered by many things. 

Woof Woof

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When someone tells you that you are “Barking Up The Wrong Tree,” you will likely be way off track. This Southern phrase is one of the most popular worldwide, showing that Southerners have significant influence. 

You’re Pretty

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“Pretty As A Peach” is a cute phrase that Southerners use to compliment someone attractive. Just as peaches look too good to resist, so do some people. This can be said to someone who you admire in a romantic way but a lot of people use this for cute children too so it can be innocent. 

Saints and Sinners

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“Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church” is used when someone is hotter than a Southerner in the midday sun. We sweat when we are nervous, and if we are sweating a lot, we have done something wrong. 


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“Yankee” is a Southern phrase used to describe anyone from the North, and while it may seem to be a put-down, it is said in a friendly manner. People from the North take this comment in jest and are likely to have slang words for people from the South. 

You Can or You Can’t?

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“I Might Could” is a confusing phrase that only other Southerners will understand. Translated, “I Might Could” means something is possible but not definite. Everyone else might say, “I might be able to.” 

Where Exactly?

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“Over Yonder” is a phrase used by Southerners when they know roughly where something is but don’t know exactly where it is. Not getting the correct directions in a Southern state can be frustrating, but at least people are honest with you.

You Did What?

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“Well, I S’Wanee” is used when a Southerner is shocked by something but can’t quite find the right words that don’t involve cursing inform of children. The funny thing is most children will equate this phrase to someone swearing anyway. 

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